By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team began their 2015 season with Tracy David back for her 14th season as head coach of the Vikes women’s program. Dave Dew was alongside her as assistant coach and Bob Stankov was in charge of goalkeeping coach duties. Fifth-year Vikes Emma Greig and Shannon Elder were looking to make their final season as Vikes count, and a fresh crop of first years including forward Kiara Kilbey and defender Rachel Baird aimed to find a foothold in their first seasons as varsity athletes.
In their 2015 Canada West regular season debut, the Vikes dropped a 1-0 decision at Centennial Stadium to mainland rivals the UBC Thunderbirds. The loss would begin a rough stretch of three games to begin the season for the Vikes, scoring only one goal and allowing four for an opening record of 0-1-2. The Vikes quickly rebounded by going on a streak of nine games unbeaten from late September to October, scoring a total of 27 goals and allowing only four to improve their record to 7-3-2. Greig was awarded Canada West Third Star of the Week honours for a goal and three assists in two wins against Thompson Rivers and UBC Okanagan Sept. 26-27.
Heading into their final two games of the regular season against the Trinity Western Spartans and Fraser Valley Cascades, the Vikes were in search of hosting rights to a Canada West playoff matchup. However, a 1-0 loss to the Spartans and a 2-2 draw to the Cascades meant that the Vikes would be on the road to face Fraser Valley in order to secure a spot in November’s Canada West Select Six in Saskatoon, Sask. Fraser Valley had knocked the Vikes out of the playoffs a season prior with a 3-0 victory over the Vikes on Oct. 25, 2014. This time around, after 120 minutes of scoreless normal and extra time, the Vikes defeated the Cascades 5- 3 on penalties on Oct. 31 to book themselves a place in the Canada West Select Six hosted by UBC from Nov. 5-8.
Their first opponent in the quarter-finals was the Calgary Dinos, whom they had drawn 0-0 with earlier in the season on Oct. 18 in Calgary. This time around, the Dinos would get the better of the Vikes with a 2-1 win to cut the Vikes’ bid for a Canada West championship and CIS Nationals appearance short. Third-year defender Elise Butler scored the only goal of the game for the Vikes.
Despite their season being halted in the Select Six, veteran forward Greig was awarded Canada West Most Valuable Player honours and was a conference all-star alongside teammates Storie and Machin. Greig would also go on to be named a CIS First-Team All-Canadian – the second time the Tofino, B.C. product had earned the mention.